Letter from Charles S. Peirce to Carlile P. Patterson
(Paris, 01.10.1875)

Spanish translation & annotations
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Paris, Boul. Haussmann 184
1875 Oct. 1

C. P. Patterson Esq.
Supt. U. S. Coast Survey


My dear Sir,

I dislike to fatigue you with asking the same question but my affairs have now reached such a state in consequence of non getting any reply that unless you will telegraph the answer immediately on the receipt of this, I shall be obliged to return home at once

You may remember that when I was informed by you that by a general direction of the president my salary would be paid in U. S. Currency and my expenses in the currency of the country in which they were incurred, I requested Mr. Hein to explain that direction and

being utterly unable to comprehend it, I took the liberty of going myself to the auditing officers of the treasury for an explanation, and that I found that Mr. Hein was quite wrong and that in fact on application made by you the sum would be paid out of the treasury in gold. I spoke to you about it and you promised to make the application and I then requested Mr. Hein to let me know by a letter before I sailed whether the application had been made and favorably answered. I never received any such letter and I accordingly wrote repeatedly to Mr. Hein repeating my question, but never received an answer. I can easily understand that Mr. Hein might have felt a little vexed at my going to the treasury with my questions, as if he were simply an ordinary disbursing officer and not the man whom we all regard with so much pride, respect & affection, and that he may in consequence have determined to use "red tape" and stand on his official position in reference to me; all of which I am very sorry for, but must say that it was my duty to do as I did. But that he would have continued

this attitude when he knew what serious straights it was putting me to, I respect Mr. Hein far too much to allow myself to suppose for an instance. It would be too unmanly.

Finding I could get no answer from Mr. Hein and also that the fiscal year was coming to a close, when it is so necessary that accounts should be handed in, I addressed myself to you but have been equally unable to obtain one line in reply.

Now besides a good deal of travelling, I have been obliged to pay for costly instruments, Mr. Farquhar's expenses etc. and expenses connected with the work I have done & my credit is now exhausted.

It seems to me very improper that an inferior officer should address his superior in such imperative language as I now use, but tell me, what else am I to do? Before this reaches you, I fear that I shall have been obliged to lay my case before our minister here and apply to him for relief from his private means

I have been working faithfully. For the last two months I have certainly not taken so many days recreation as there have been Sundays. I


have completed an extensive series of experiments in Geneva, and the International Geodetical Conference have expressed by a unanimous resolution their approval of my work in Europe & their desire that it should be completed. My reports it is true are behind hand; but on the 1st of September I was on the midst of work which could not be interrupted & have not been able yet to complete the rather long report of my operations. I do feel that I have done my duty here fully & have not been seduced by a tourist's impulses.

I think it would be very wrong to allow me to go home with my work all in its present condition. But as for me I cannot pay for the work any longer. I cannot be reimbursed for what I have spent without knowing how to make out my vouchers. And therefore I must make this last appeal to you to answer my inquiry. I don't know why you haven't before answered it, but I rest entirely confident in your friendship. Yours very respectfully

C. S. Peirce


Transcription by Max Fisch (Peirce Edition Project), revised by Sara Barrena.
Una de las ventajas de los textos en formato electrónico respecto de los textos impresos es que pueden corregirse con gran facilidad mediante la colaboración activa de los lectores que adviertan erratas, errores o simplemente mejores transcripciones. En este sentido agradeceríamos que se enviaran todas las sugerencias y correcciones a sbarrena@unav.es
Proyecto de investigación "Charles S. Peirce en Europa (1875-76): comunidad científica y correspondencia" (MCI: FFI2011-24340)

Fecha del documento: 17 de abril 2013
Última actualización: 6 de agosto 2013
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